goal, accomplished.

Five year ago, it was around this time that I decided to get healthy. This was taken of me and a friend on spring break during my junior year of college.

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I’ve been running for years now, a feat I never thought I was capable, but on Sunday, I ran my first official 5k. I feel silly in saying I felt emotional during the race, considering I’ve run the 5k distance hundreds of time and even more miles than that, but the “official” part of the run made it seem a little bit more special, an accomplishment. This was a checkmark on my bucket list and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself. My journey has been a testament to the idea that hard work pays off. And as I say to so many people who say they hate running or could never be a runner, if the girl above on the left could do it, they can too.

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As I had had a productive Saturday , there wasn’t much that needed to be done on Sunday by way of chores for the week. Since it was cloudy and I got my exercise in early, I spent some quality time with my couch, watching 30 Rock, writing, and eating this grilled cheese with extra soup from my lunches ahead:

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As I am writing this in the afternoon, I will not have yet watched The Oscars, but by the time the post goes live, I will have watched and continued to relax. The next couple of weekends will be busy with visitors, so I’m content to curl up now.

On Saturday, I slept in and enjoyed a pancake breakfast before heading out for some errands. First on the list was to collect my racing bib and t-shirt. Next, I went to the gym and worked my shoulders, ab/adductors, glutes, and core before finishing up with a quick cycling session and stretching my legs for race day. I also did my grocery shopping and meal prepping, guzzled a lot of water to stay super hydrated, then headed out for a karaoke night with some friends.

I thought I’d suffer from stage fright, but apparently, I love holding that mic…

Going back to Friday, I did a whole lot of nothing, except force myself to the gym a bit on the late side than usual and watch 30 Rock. The trick is to drive there and go through the motions without overthinking. Habits are easy to follow! It was an early night ‘cus this girl was tired!

Overall, this weekend was the perfect combination of relaxing, active, and productive. I’ll just ignore the fact it was colder on the southern west coast than it was in the northern east coast where my family resides. This is what I get for all the teasing I’ve done whenever it snowed.

Have a great Monday!

Beware the Pigeons

Happy Monday! A little recap of the weekend lies ahead.

On Friday, there was nothing more that I wanted to do than sit on my couch and veg. I watched some 30 Rock and just chilled, but was lulled to sleep fairly early.

I even ended up waking before my alarm on Saturday to eat a pancake breakfast and work it out at the gym.

In the afternoon, I went to the Science Center to try and be smarter see the Pixar Exhibit. My first impression was of these beautiful trees that made me feel as though I was transported to a magical world.

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Expectations were high, but then I met up with my cousins and we got lunch. Tables were full, so we ate outside and I can’t tell you how many birds surrounded the seating area. Every so often, as one, they would fly away suddenly. Long story short, on one of these instances, a pigeon clipped my head with its wing.

I got hit in the head by a pigeon.

I don’t know how else to emphasize this. Such an instance has inspired me to blog again because although ridiculous, it is also hilarious. A few minutes later, I was then hit in the head by a balloon that a kid popped. On the way home, I was worried for my noggin, you know, rule of three, but thankfully, all circumstances seemed to end there.

Back to the reason I was at the museum in the first place, the Pixar Exhibit, it was cool, but overcrowded by kids with minimal supervision and limited understanding of any of the science behind it. I give the museum itself an, eh, but that, as my cousin Sebastian pointed out, is probably thanks in large part to the Boston Museum of Science being amazing. Nothing else can quite live up to it.

Because I’m a cool cat, the rest of my Saturday included grocery shopping, meal prepping for the week ahead, lots of Netflix (30 Rock and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), writing, and reading. I wanted to watch Saturday Night Live, well, live, but I was tired and ending up falling asleep early.

On Sunday, I slept in a bit, enjoyed breakfast, and tried to make a lentil soup that ended up looking more like lentil goop. I’m sure you’ll see evidence of this travesty at some point this week because although it looks disgusting, I’m not above eating it. For the record, it still tastes well enough.

I was quite active, starting with Yoga on the new mat I purchased for 7 dollars. This feels like a steal, so please don’t take that away from me. I ran through my own routine, which oiled me up for the best run I’ve had in awhile.

Speaking of running, while my family suffered another snow storm back home on the east coast, I took to the sunny streets of Los Angeles for a sweaty run. It was in the seventies something and amazing outside.

Maybe I wasn’t the nicest daughter/sister/cousin by sending out this shot, but I couldn’t resist. At least many of them get a snow day today!

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After my run, I fueled up with a piece of peanut butter toast and yogurt with strawberries and lots of water before I decided it was far too nice out to be locked up inside and took my bike out for a spin.

With the beach on my mind, there was only one destination intended, but the ride was not smooth. For whatever reason (there’s a reason), this ride was hard and slow (-er than usual) and I realized, on my eighth mile back from the beach and because another rider called out to me, that my back tire was low. Whoops. Here I was thinking I was out of shape, when really, I’m in excellent shape to ride that long on a flat tire. That’s what I’m telling myself.

Once at the beach, I pulled over to do some writing while taking in this view.

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Had I not been by bike, I would’ve stayed to watch the sunset, but it’s February and the weather has been what it’s been, so I think I’ve got some sunsets in my future (knock on wood).

For the rest of the afternoon, I had some errands to run and things to do, but once I got home, I made myself dinner, threw in the laundry, and prepped for the week ahead, including a new workout plan. Call me a nerd, but there’s something satisfying about a new workout plan.

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As I write this on Sunday night, I’m hoping to wake up earlier than usual and exercise in the morning. It all depends on how I sleep tonight. It would be nice to just go home, eat, write, and sleep in the evenings, but thus far, I’ve been consistent with my post-work exercising. My body’s ideal workout time is late morning, early afternoon, which is prime for very few people’s schedules. Pick your poison I guess!

No matter how your Monday or week goes, at least you won’t get hit in the head by a pigeon. Probably.

long weekend adventures

Shoutout to my friend Katie for visiting me this weekend! The adventure started late Thursday night when Katie landed at LAX and I picked her up. We promptly fell asleep because we had a big day planned for Friday…fifteen and a half hours at Disneyland!

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Disney really is the most magical place on earth. Lines actually weren’t that long, so we were able to go on every ride more than once. I ended up buying a season pass for myself because it’s something everyone seems to want to go to when they visit. To commemorate the occasion, I bought myself a pair of Mickey Ears. Princess-themed, of course.

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There was a pair of bright pink ears with a tiara that I almost exchanged these ones for, but they had Aurora’s face on it, and I was not about that. I also can’t help but laugh at this picture below as we realized that you get a lot wetter in the front few seats of Splash Mountain than you’d expect.

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After Disney, we were ready for a more relaxed, but still fun-filled Saturday. First up, Santa Monica.

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Shameless selfie.

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Next, we hit up Venice.

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That afternoon, we ended up watching the Patriots game at a bar (football is not my sport). In and Out called for dinner and then it was a fairly early night as we watched some Friends reruns and fell asleep.

On Sunday, we were up early again to head over to WB Studios to take the tour. Friends!

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One day maybe I’ll be holding an Oscar of my own.

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The rest of the day, we headed into Hollywood to see the Chinese Theater, Walk of Fame, and Hollywood Sign. We also drove through West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, then headed over to the Grove for a bit. More Friends reruns finished off the night.

On Monday, I dropped Katie off early at the airport and promptly went back to sleep. Boy, do the days fly! Once I woke up, I made myself breakfast and finished some chores around the apartment before heading out for a bike ride.

Can we please talk about this view?

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And the sunset before grocery shopping.

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The rest of the night, I meal prepped for the week, dyed my hair, and did some laundry. A great weekend, but still had to prepare for the week!

Help, My Lip Is Growing and Other Weekend Adventures

In my world of weird, I fell into bed the other night after a long writing session. Sleep was calling to me and I was gladly falling for it until my lip started tingling.

You know that moment when you’re hovering between consciousness and being submerged in sleep? Everything feels distorted and you doubt the real ness of things. Well, at first, I thought my tingling lip was a figment on my imagination, but then I realized my upper lip was actually growing.

I don’t know if I bit it or what, but I had to get out of bed, pop a Bendryl to quell the swelling and make sure it wasn’t an allergic reaction to anything, ice it, and tell my mom in case it was something serious. When I woke up- thankfully- I still had a bad case of half of my upper lip being plump and the other a thin line. I seriously considered thinking this was going to be how I looked the rest of my life, thinking that all of my upper lip fat fell into one half of it. My mom’ slaughter assured me this was not the case.

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It’s not exactly how I wanted to look during my shopping trip, so I was glad after a couple minutes of straight icing brought it back down to normal.

To recap my weekend, I started off Friday with a workout and lunch out with my friend Molly. That night, I dedicated a lot of time for writing, while enjoying some Gilmore Girls and one of those single-servings of Haagen Daz ice cream.

Saturday included my mom and I arriving to the outlets an hour before they opened due to a scheduling conflict- two sources online providing conflicting hours. It was quite a productive day of the best sort- clothes!- but shopping is also exhausting so I wasn’t looking to do anything extravagant that night.

To relax, I went to see Mockingjay, the latest Hunger Games films with my cousin Mikey. Let me tell you, I was not a huge fan of the third book because I found big parts of it to be boring and I had a problem with how the heroine acted through it, but this half of the book was exciting on screen! I think I hit Mikey at one point because I was so nervous. It was a fun night that started with dinner and funny times. Sorry you had to miss it, cough Erin and Jimmy.

To end my Saturday, I got into another strong roll of my writing and went to bed later than I should have. When it flows, you can’t stop writing!

Sunday, I woke up and got right to work after breakfast. In college, Sundays were always my organization and homework day. I am big into production, however nerdy that might seem. This fascinating day included folding laundry and introducing my closest to my beautiful new clothes. After, I got things organized for the week, including chopping up a ton of veggies to be thrown into lunches and dinners with ease. Prepping as much food on Sunday makes things a ton easier throughout the week. One of the biggest downfalls to healthy eating is convenience. Sometimes eating healthier takes more time or will be ignored if you have a choice between options right in front of you. So I make it convenient when I have the time! While digesting my lunch before my workout, I got in even more writing time.

Listen, I am a big fan of rest, relaxation, and a touch of laziness, but sometimes productive days just hit the spot!

Here’s to a great week! Gobble gobble.

Working Out Is Hard To Do- Except When It’s Not

It’s hard to come up with new posts on exercise because I do a lot of the same things over again. We’ve heard a lot about my running successes and woes, which I was discussing with my mom earlier. Both her and my dad have taken up running and they have noticed how one day you feel phenomenal, while the next day you feel awful. You just have to keep going. Obviously if the awful feeling is born from pain that is physically hurting you, then you should skip it, but otherwise, the type of exercise that makes a difference is the kind you do when you don’t feel like getting it done. Running is the most fickle form of exercise because it can be affected by water or food intake, temperature, or energy levels.

Strength training is similar but not as bad because you can do a lot of improvisation and take breaks in-between sets. When I’m not feeling my strongest but I know I have to get through a workout, I’ll focus on fewer sets and reps, working through the moves slowly and feeling how it affects my body. I notice the effects of rest days best when it comes to strength training. A day of rejuvenation helps to repair muscles and I come back feeling stronger and get through a longer, harder workout.

When I get to the gym or hit the streets, I can tell almost immediately what kind of day it will be. At my strongest, I can safely push myself, try new exercises, and go for a longer or harder routine. Then there are always the days where I’m going through the motions and counting down the seconds. When this happens, listening to music helps to focus the mind away from exertion or I will come up with story ideas that I play through my head. This will occur more frequently during my running, swimming, or other longer cardio sessions because I am doing the same thing for so long. With strength training, I move so quickly from one thing to another and do a variety of different exercises and using different equipment that I easily stave off boredom. I’m lucky because I’ve reached the point where I do genuinely enjoy working out, but I am still human and prone to having those days where even thinking of exercise makes me UGH.

Pleasure from exercise for me is born from a feeling of productivity, strength, and stress-relief. I am a natural organizer, attached to my planner, love making to-do lists, but love checking items off that list even more. Knowing that I am going to exercise and that I have one definite bullet off of my list checked off gives me a weird sense of satisfaction in the same way that I love having folded and put away my laundry, cleaned my room, or organized my desk.

When I first started my exercise plan, I knew I had one great thing in my arsenal, mind strength. There was a moment where it all clicked and I knew I could do it. That courage helped a lot when it came time to starting exercising and trying out new routines. Realizing that your body is so strong should not be surprising, but the truth is, we spend so much time out of check and focused on other things, that we don’t always allot enough energy to ourselves. I may not love doing Burpees, but I love knowing that I can. Push-ups are also a pain in the ass, but I had a deep moment of pride when I transitioned into doing them full out. Exercise is a way for me to better connect and understand my body that I have otherwise ignored. It’s similar to how you have to listen to the signals your body sends you when eat, what foods work, what doesn’t. You may not agree, especially if you despise working out, but exercise is also a gift. It’s taking the time to, as Parks and Rec declares, “treat yo self.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again 1000 times. I would not have gotten through my Fellowship without exercise. I’ve seen a lot of people cut working out from their daily plans when things get busy because it’s the obvious thing to step away from, especially if you don’t love it. Trust me, I get it. There are so many things that go into a day and not enough time if you actually want to sleep, but dedicating thirty minutes to an hour out of a day to exercise shows that you are still taking care of yourself, keeping your energy levels up, and will help you focus. I was lucky to fit my exercise in during the hour between my work day and my classes starting. Whether I had a horrible day or a great one, lifting those weights, performing those moves, or going for a run was my saving grace. I was able to let it all go (ELSA COSTUME YAY), give my mental muscles a break, and bust it out physically. It worked. It worked. It worked. My number one word of advice, fit in exercise in any capacity for any amount of time in any way that you can because it will make you stronger mentally and physically.

That being said, I can feel my body adjusting to my current exercise plan. As much as I’ve been enjoying it, I know that I have to mix things up in order to keep my body guessing. It kind of stinks sometimes that just making the effort to exercise doesn’t always get the job done, but creating a new work out plan can be exciting and up your motivation to get it done. Hopefully I’ll take the weekend to develop a new plan and share it with you next week!